Getting divorced sucks. Even if you're ready to move on, the process sucks. The family court system is a mess, and emotions are burning like the white-hot intensity of a thousands suns. I've been told that time makes it easier, that eventually things settle down and life can go on.
But what happens if for one of you, it doesn't? It's been three years since my own divorce began, and while I can honestly admit I haven't always been the epitome of grace and kindness, I have in that time done a lot of processing and moving on.
But with every step forward I take, it seems there is an attempt to drag me backwards. Since I write a lot about my life experience with divorce, parenting, and dating, I belong to a lot of groups and blogs that focus on these subjects. I often read the horror stories from ex's about the nasty emails to friends, the Facebook stalking, and the constant attempts to dredge up some piece of evidence to finally prove we are that horrible awful person who wronged them.
And that sucks. But in my processing and moving on I've come to a profound realization. What they do doesn't matter. A big part of "moving on" is to let go of being responsible for anyone else's actions but your own.
I would read every angst-ridden post on those blogs about what that evil ex did and for a while, allow them to fill me with my own sense of dread and despair. Until one day I realized that, until I let go, until I stopped my own search for validation in being angry, in being right, in winning, there was no moving on.
So I stopped looking. I stopped reading the emails, I stopped worrying every time a friend sent me a copy of some crazy accusation and started looking at my own life. I started focusing that energy on my kids, our life together, our relationship. And started looking at the validation I was receiving about how good things were. And there are a lot of good things.
I cannot control what others do, I cannot control their process. What I can do is be responsible for my own and that includes how I respond. That's the one thing we all have control over, our response, or our choice not to. We have control over our perspective.
So many women have written me saying they feel powerless in the midst of their divorce. I understand, I felt the same way. But then I remembered something I was told by a woman I met at the very beginning of my divorce process.
"It's going to be hard, it's going to hurt, and it's going to feel like it will never end. Remember you're not in this to 'win.' You're a mom, you've already won. Just be the best mom you can be and don't worry about anyone else. When you just love your kids, they will see it, they will know and that's all that matters".
So remember that you are very powerful. Remind yourself you have the power of choice. It's all about perspective, it's all about what you choose to focus on. Remember to see the good things in your life. Remember that love does prevail and that you only have to do that. Let everyone else do what they do.
Three years later I look at my kids, and sure we have our moments, but I see them thriving. I see my own life thriving and that's what matters. The rest is just drama and you only have to join the cast if you want to.